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HIST 0520 Copernicus to Newton

The ‘Scientific Revolution’ of the early modern era was so broad and profound that some scholars have suggested that it did nothing less than transform the world. This course approached these claims by exploring in detail the contribution of several key thinkers, writers and polemicists most noted for their contributions to the modern fields of astronomy, cosmology, physics, optics and mathematics.

Sample Topics

  • The Copernican Revolution
  • Galileo’s Achievements and Difficulties
  • Kepler and the Music of the Spheres
  • Francis Bacon and the Experimental Philosophy
  • Pascal and a New Mathematics
  • Leibniz: Optimism and Calculation
  • Newton and the Principles of Mathematics
  • A Scientific Revolution?


Introductory Reading

  • Hall, A.R., The Revolution in Science 1500-1750. London: Longman, 3rd edn, 1983
  • Crombie, A.C., Styles of Scientific Thinking in the European Tradition.  3 vols, London: Duckworth, 1994
  • Kuhn, T.S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 3rd edn, 1996
  • Copernicus, N., On the Revolutions. C. Wallis trans., Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1993
  • Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo. S. Drake trans., New York: Anchor Books, 1975
  • Bacon, F. Novum Organum. Many translations, for example at
  • Newton, I., Principia.  Many translations.
The City of Dreaming Spires
Waking up surrounded by Gothic architecture Studying in the Radcliffe Camera­ Strutting in high heels across cobblestones Shopping at the Covered Mar...
Veronica Popp, Spring Semester 2009, Elmhurst College